Readers familiar with Windows will be familiar with the problems it has managing memory effectively - the so-called "memory leak". Systems subjected to a heavy or varied workload have been known to seize up or crash. With no option but to reboot, this is annoying, time wasting, and most importantly, work can be lost. There are numerous products aimed at solving this problem. Most of them will cost you hard-earned cash, but Rambooster, equal to the best, is freeware.
A 925Kbyte download unzips to provide a setup.exe file that installs the program. On loading, the main visible controls are a memory control slider, which is the amount of memory Rambooster attempts to make available when its memory optimisation pass is manually activated. To do this select "Run now" from the menu by right-clicking the tray icon, or by clicking the "Optimise" button in the main window. More useful is the automatic feature set by entering "Preferences" from the edit menu. Here you can set the low memory alarm level at which Rambooster automatically runs an optimisation pass. When triggered, an attempt is made to free a user-specified amount of Ram.
It is also possible to specify a CPU usage threshold above which optimisation will not occur. This safeguards against Rambooster being continuously activated, on the assumption that if the CPU usage is high, there is no danger of the system hanging. Options include sound and pop-up notification of optimisation, automatic launch and minimisation on start-up, and CPU usage display.
The default alarm level of 3Mbytes was too low for my 192Mbyte system, and I set it to 20Mbytes, freeing up 90Mbytes on automatic activation. I also set the CPU usage threshold to 100%, causing activation whenever memory dropped to the alarm level.
Without Rambooster, when running a heavy program load Windows could give up and my system would switch off. Running the same load with Rambooster active, 90Mbytes of memory would be freed up when the alarm level was reached, and my system would happily continue.
Rambooster product information
Company J Pajula
Home page www.sci.fi/~borg/rambooster/index.html
Download page www.sci.fi/~borg/rambooster/download.htm
Download size 925 Kbytes (version 1.6)
System Windows 95/98 /NT
This was first published in November 2000